As you probably already know I recently switched from my beloved Canon setup to the Sony A99.
Some people did not get the idea behind this, but let me put it this way… I’m very picky when it comes to dynamic range, color and image quality and when I compared the A99 to the Canon 5DMKIII I could not really think off any reason not to make the switch, now I have to be honest buying all my lenses again is an idea that I did not like and also an idea that scared the heck out of me for the simple reason that I did not know anything about the quality of Minolta glass etc. And this triggered a journey that I will try to show you on the blog and give you some tips and buying advise as we go along.
Maybe you already heard/read about it online but there are a lot of people loving old lenses, and according to many the quality is just as good (or better) than the modern lenses. Now this is something that always had me puzzled, of course I know that glass can be incredibly good, I have the experience first hand when I work with the Mamiya RZ67ProII, the lenses for that camera are awesome and beat everything that it on the market now in my opinion, however…. AF has had an incredible boost in recent years so do realize it will always be a tradeoff, on the other hand when we look at pricing this could be something you could life with every easily.
The first thing I did when I got my Sony A99 was make sure that I got the lenses I needed most were 100% perfect, so I opted for the Zeiss 24-70 f2.8, Sony 70-200 f2.8G and the Sigma 12-24 II these were the lenses I bought new. Now as many of you I also have those lenses that I just love but that I don’t “NEED” like a super fast 50mm, a great portrait prime and of course the Lensbaby (which was replaced for me by the Dutch distributor for which I’m very grateful).
To get some more lenses for my system I decided it would be cool to check out internet and see what people were talking about when it comes to quality of the old glass, well to make a long story short I got very excited and due to the prices I decided to start collecting a few lenses, in the coming weeks (days) I will show you some images of the lenses I get in and will mention the price I paid and I think you will be surprised for what’s possible (because I was).
At the moment I got the :
Minolta 135 f2.8 (review tomorrow)
Minolta 35-200 (review the day after tomorrow)
And in the mail are :
Minolta 85 f1.4
Minolta 50 f1.7
Pentax Super Takumar 55 F2 (M42)
If you’re a little older (than me) you will probably remember this mount?
My very first “real” camera was a Praktica and that one used the universal mount M42, because this mount was so incredibly good for it’s time a lot of different manufacturers started using that mount for their lenses, meaning that if there is a way to mount these lenses on a modern camera you could use Leica, Pentax, Minolta, Praktica etc. lenses on your DSLR. You have to be a little careful with these convertors because some lenses will actually be a little bit too “deep” meaning it can hit your mirror so make sure you know what you’re doing, these lenses can be used but you will need an extra ring which will often sacrifice infinity focus.
Now I found 2 different types of convertors, one a dumb convertor for around 20.00 euros and one with AF confirmation for around 30.00 euros. As you can imagine I went with the second version. I hope to receive that one this week and will also write something about it when I start testing my old Practica lenses (no expectations for those).
Just think about it
99.99% of us have limited budgets and we can only spend our money once. Lenses are expensive when you buy everything new or the want the latest versions, and don’t get me wrong I strongly believe that the “money making” lenses should be top notch quality and probably should be bought new (or second hand), however lenses also are responsible for the image quality and look of an image, I read somewhere (and changed it to my opinion) “some new lenses will make it possible to capture a perfect photo, the old lenses have character and makes it possible to create a vision” in other words, when I look at the Zeiss 24-70 I see an “almost” perfect lens with great colors, razor sharp, incredibly 3D look, no flare etc. so why would I want to have something else… well it’s a bit like using filters, sometimes you just want to have some flare, some lightfall off, maybe some light leakage etc. OR just another look.
And I have to be really clear on something, also for the lenses I’m buying now I will go for absolute quality, but I’m willing to sacrifice just a little bit of sharpness or color accuracy for a better/smoother bokeh. But I would never start using lenses that are “crap” just because they… are vintage. Of course you’re vision might be different